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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

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March 2020

Monitoring and Procedures for COVID-19

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The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) remains in continuous communication with the Center for Disease Control, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and its university healthcare providers to monitor developments associated with the spread of COVID-19. To ensure the health and safety of employees and offenders, the agency is implementing the following steps to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus:

Travel:

  • Staff should limit any unnecessary domestic traveling.
  • Agency travel should be limited unless it is an absolute necessity.
  • Any international travel must be approved by the employee’s division director, and if approved, the employee may be required to delay their return to work.

Illnesses:

  • If an employee feels ill or is running a fever, they are advised to stay home.
  • If an employee begins to feel ill at work, and they are assigned to an area where the Coronavirus has been confirmed, they will be required to complete the TDCJ COVID-19 Screening.
  • Based on the completion of the Screening, if an employee appears to be ill, they will be sent home and will be required to submit a physician’s note stating the employee is clear of any symptoms of COVID-19 upon returning to work.

Visitation:

  • March 13, 2020: In accordance with Governor Abbott’s declaration, effective today, the TDCJ will be temporarily suspending visitation at all our facilities (statewide) until further notice. While we understand the value and significance of the visitation process at our facilities, we also understand the importance of providing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all involved. For continued updates, please refer to our agency website.

Sanitation:

  • ALL staff are reminded to take proper housekeeping/cleaning steps both in their personal office space as well as their total work environments.
  • Staff are asked to use good hygiene practices, frequently wash hands thoroughly, and refrain from touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.

The agency will continue monitoring the situation for as long as necessary and will provide additional communication if there are any new developments.

Ongoing Monitoring Initiatives:

In addition to the procedures being implemented above, the agency has a confirmed supply of personal protective equipment, and has made arrangements to receive additional protective equipment as needed.

The TDCJ has policies and protocols in place to prevent the spread of all infectious disease.

https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/divisions/cmhc/infection_control_policy_manual.html

Other protocols, as necessary, will include:

  • Temporary suspension of visitation (check the TDCJ webpage prior to visiting)
  • Suspending offender movements
  • Disinfecting visitation areas
  • Regular cleaning of all areas of the unit using a 10% bleach solution